Persistent alone-ness, by my definition, means deliberately choosing to be alone despite the possibility of companionship. The reason for this could vary for different people: perhaps you hate the idea of someone else inhabiting your space (physical or emotional), or you have seen one too many bad marriages (or experienced a bad break up of your own) and don’t believe in the idea of relationships, or maybe you just won’t ever like anyone as much as you like yourself… so why bother??
Any of these reasons could be the cause of my condition on a given day… sometimes it’s one more than the other, but, ultimately, I persist in my quest to be alone. Yes, I realize that this goes against everything we are taught growing up; the importance of finding a soul mate is a concept so heavily hammered into us that my Spice Girls Barbies were getting hitched before I could even double knot my laces. However, past life experiences (particularly tough ones), mixed with current life experiences (particularly happy ones which result from my single-ness), have outweighed the societal impact on my pre-adolescent brain and allowed me to feel totally fulfilled and ecstatic to be living this life on my own! No, alone does not mean that I do not have family- in fact, my parents’ involvement in my life almost definitely makes being un-attached a more enjoyable and less lonely lifestyle than many assume it to be. I have a built-in support system, people to eat a homemade dinner with, extra hands for big yard work and someone to bring me soup when I’m sick- I am not truly alone in life, but I am alone in the intimate details. The big bed I sleep in is filled with pillows and dogs, the air filters only get changed if I haul out the ladder every 6 weeks and get it done- and no one is there to pay my mortgage if I over extend my credit limit. I am the last person I see before sleep and the first person I greet each morning. I treat myself to massages and cook my favorite meals; I even take myself to the movies on occasion. I have no one to nag for not doing the dishes or emptying the trash, no one is disappointing me by forgetting to put the sheets on the bed or leaving their towel on the floor. I am responsible for my own happiness, therefore it is a priority.
Having said all of that, I want to emphasize that I am not cynical about relationships, in fact I love seeing my friends find people who make them happy and improve their lives- it is a beautiful thing! And I make a GREAT third, fifth, or seventh wheel! I do not shut people out and am not resolutely against the idea of ever dating someone; I often re-consider whether I could be happier than I am, or if I feel that something is missing, and consistently determine the answer to be “no.” Sometimes I’ll meet a nice guy, we’ll text a little bit, then I start to slowly become reabsorbed into my very busy schedule. I forget to respond for a few hours, then a few days, then ever at all, and soon it’s back to life as usual.
My main purpose in writing this post is not to flaunt my happiness in a sadly desperate way as an attempt to prove to my coupled friends that “I really am doing ok!!!” My purpose is also not to tell others that they should break up and be alone because I am living a better life than they are. I just want to reach out to my fellow “single pringles” (as my students would say) in solidarity, and acknowledge that we exist. We are eligible women without severely destructive personality traits (as far as we know), who are choosing to do our own thing and don’t feel inadequate for it!
And, if there ever is a man (or person) who changes our perception of life and our own happiness, like we’ve always been promised, then more power to him for having the confidence to jump into our world- we will welcome you and try not to sleep like starfish all over your half of the bed.